View Full Version : New to houseboating, need advice

08-23-2016, 04:40 PM
Hello, my wife and I want to fulfill our dream of owning and living on a houseboat. Neither of us have any real experience with boating in general, so how would you recommend we prepare? We are going to do the NYS Boating Safety certification course along with a 16-hour boating course at SUNY Maritime College, but other than that we're out of ideas other than renting a houseboat for a weekend. We don't know anyone who owns a houseboat right now.

As far as what kind of boat we're looking for, we want something that we can take on trips down to the Caribbean. I was looking at a nice Bluewater 5200 and some Azimut 40-43 boats. Any other recommendations? Any advice in general is appreciated. Thanks.

08-23-2016, 05:18 PM
Hi welcome to the forum!

For those conditions and distances I'd want a trawler or a sailboat, NOT a "houseboat". The Bahamas, maybe.

08-24-2016, 10:17 AM
It would have to be a very exceptional day to even think about taking a Houseboat across the Gulf Stream to the Bahama's. I don't doubt that it can/has be done, just extremely rare. I've done the inside passage down the Florida Keys on a Houseboat, protected waters aside, there were a couple of days when the waves/weather kept us from progress. I'm surprised that no one has actually come up with a traditional looking HB that truly is sea-worthy and able to make regular passages like that you are suggesting.

08-24-2016, 01:48 PM
Thanks everyone. Maybe I'm using the wrong terminology - is something like this considered a houseboat?


That wouldn't be able to make the trip to the Caribbean?

08-24-2016, 04:35 PM
Technically, a "houseboat" is a boat which is used for accommodation, rather than navigation. So most of what we call houseboats are in reality cruisers. But a liveaboard sailboat could be a houseboat.

In GOOD weather, IF you have the fuel capacity, it probably could. In bad weather, not for me. I've seen times when Florida to Puerto Rico looked like 1000 mi of glass. On the other hand, it can take out a containership (and has). Usually it's somewhere in between.

I'd want something more like this: http://www.denisonyachtsales.com/yachts-for-sale/49-Grand-Banks-49-Classic-1983-Little-River/5431071

08-24-2016, 08:32 PM
Bluewater Yacht's are more for Coastal Cruising. Can it make the trip to the Bahama's? You Bet!. As long as the Weather/Sea Conditions is nice (flat calm and gentle breeze). It's a very capable boat. We had one running up and down the Creeks and River here for a few years (dinner cruises). The Owner went broke and the boat got repo'd. The one here had Gas motors also and I think it got auctioned off for something like $35,000. It needed a LOT of work done to it.

When I was just a Wee-Lad (teenager), I worked during the summers Crabbing out of Crystal River, FL. We had traps up to 10 miles off shore and we ran them in an OLD (really old) 45' ex-coastal Patrol boat my Grandfather bought at a military surplus auction. It had bunks for 6 in the cabin, a small Galley, an even smaller Head, and a cantankerous old 6 cylinder Diesel motor. Top end on it was maybe 15 knots and carried enough fuel to go at least 300 miles. This was back in the 60's and House Boats were just beginning to catch on. We saw one from time to time out there off shore, rock'n and roll'n, sputter-putt'n along. We had one pull up next to us out there one day, asking where the entrance to Crystal River was (way before GPS was around and Loran wasn't very reliable). Pointed out the Power Plant Smoke Stacks, told him to keep that on his bow, and he would see the channel markers. When we got back in that evening, sure enough, there was the House Boat tied up at my Grandparents place. Turned out that it was an old friend of theirs, headed down to Tampa. I think it was a Gibson. Since then, I have always been interested in Houseboats.

The Grand Banks is a GREAT boat. But all that TEAK scares me (lots of sanding and varnishing).

08-25-2016, 06:52 AM
There was a story years ago about a guy that ran a Bluewater across to the Bahamas on a fairly regular basis. It can make the trip. If the weather turns snotty on the way over, then you are in trouble.

09-03-2016, 04:31 PM
The Grand Banks is a GREAT boat. But all that TEAK scares me (lots of sanding and varnishing). Yes it is a great boat and generally more expensive, but it is worth the money and will take you almost anywhere. And you do not sand and varnish teak. (not real teak anyway). wash it and oil it occasionally. That grey look it gets is normal and the way teak should look.

Frankly my opinion of Bluewater for offshore (FIW) is no way would I ever take one off shore. A prefectly flat, low wave nice day can become a nightmare in just a few hours. I have been offshore many times (in Coast Guard ships) and the weather can change rapidly, especially out in the gulf stream. If you want to go offshore get a boat built ot go offshore. Something like the Grand Banks or a Hatteras will take you there and back and do so in relatively comfort, and is just as liveable as that Bluewater.

09-05-2016, 09:37 AM

This is something like I am investigating. I haven't gotten a close up look at one of these boats but in my mind's flawed eye, I can see where that could be converted to a really nice HB. Last time I was in Key Largo, Fl, we saw these boats running out to the Reef's and they sure appeared to be able to take waves larger than the Dive Boat we were on a lot more comfortably (4-6'). These were outboard powered (large Yamaha's) and could easily outrun the Dive Boat. The Channel where they would come and go from would get as shallow as 4' and they didn't seem to have any problem navigating it. Looking around, I have not found the "builder" of these boats. Anyone got a clue?